Syed Naseer Ahamed
Every one know who killed Mahatma Gandhi. But we did not know the person who saved the life of Mahatma in 1917. He is a common man Mr Bathaq Miya Ansari (1867-1957) resident of Mohithar village, Champaran Area, Bihar State. This episode of saving the life of Gandhiji is witnessed by our First president of India Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad and himself announced this in 1950. But we did not remember Mr Ansari.
Bataq Mia Ansari, who foiled the conspiracy of the British Indigo Planters to assasinate Mahathma Gandhi with poison, was born in Motihari village of Bihar state in 1867. His father was Mohammad Ali Ansari. The Indian National Congress sent Gandhiji to Champaran in Bihar to probe into the complaints made by the farmers on the atrocities of the British Indigo Planters in Bihar.
As the British planters feared that, their atrocities would be exposed in the inquiry, they conspired to eliminate Gandhiji by serving him poisonous food. They also thought that, if the food was served by an Indian, they would not be exposed. Thus, they chose Bataq Mia Ansari, who was then a small employee in the British government.
They exerted pressure on him to serve the poisonous food to Mahatma offering him luxurious life if he obliged while threatening him of dire consequences if he did not oblige. But, Ansari did not get tempted with their offer and also did not care their warnings.
He just directly informed Mahatma Gandhi, about the conspiracy and alerted him before the feast, for which Bataq Mia was ousted from his job and treated cruelly by the British Planters. This incident happened in 1917, to which, Dr.Babu Rajendra Prasad was an eye witness.
When Babu Rajendra Prasad visited Motihari in 1950 as the first president of independent India, he recognized Bataq Mia Ansari, who was in penury. Rajendra Prasad immediately sanctioned him 50 acres of land. But, the orders could not be implemented for a pretty long period because of the apathy of the officials.
When Bataq Mia Ansari passed away in 1957, Dr. Rajendra Prasad came to know the news of his death and he invited his family members to Rashtrapati Bhavan on 3 December, 1958 and took immediate action to hand over the land to them. Bataq Mia Ansari’s sacrifice which deserves a prominent place in the history of the Freedom Movement of India, came to limelight only when freedom fighter Syed Ibrahim Fikri (Delhi) released his book written in Urdu ‘Hindustani Jung-e-Azadi mein Musalmanonka Hissa’ in 1999.
Ansari, who foiled the conspiracy against Mahatma Gandhi, suffered utter penury through out his life. Though he rendered a great service to the Indian National movement and Nation, he could not get due recognition during his life time. The promise made by first President of India is yet to be implemented completely. Due to the efforts of Smt. Prathibha Patil, former President of India, the long pending file seems to be moving but the government is yet to provide help to Bataq Mia Ansari’s family.